Supporting Cultural Infrastructure and Preserving Dying Art Forms
Pala, the ballad singing tradition of Odisha, is a unique form of performing art, which once occupied the space in coastal Odisha as a cardinal source of entertainment. It was a story telling tradition that combined music of classical and folk forms, comedy and drama, epic literature in Sanskrit and lucid metaphors in folk language, erudition with benighted comments, and synthesis of Islamic and Sufi tradition with Hindu tradition. The form which had dominated the scene once had to yield space to cinema and TV to the extent that it suffered near extinction. SEEDS has helped in the creation of a “cultural infrastructure” to revive the dying tradition of Pala by organising workshops and competitions for Pala singers to repopularise and repurpose the old tradition. For example the story telling tradition of Pala was used to bring awareness to social equality and rights of all. Starting in 2009, a five year effort was carried out with statewide participation in Pala competitions with independent judging and impact studies. For more information on the 5-year pala revival effort, read the article by PK Das in the SEEDS Silver Jubille Souvenir Journal.
Support of a terracotta gallery at the OdiArt Museum in Barkul, Odisha is another example of SEEDS promoting cultural infrastructure and art education in Odisha.